Showing posts from April, 2009

Yom Ha'atzmaut!

Yom Ha’atzmaut is the celebration of Israel’s independence on the 5th day of the month of Iyar. It commemorates the declaration of statehood (May 14th 1948). The rebirth of the Land of Israel marked the first time in 1900 years that the Jewish people had a free and independent homeland. On the 5th of Iyar, Israel celebrates her independence with joyous festivities. Jewish people around the world join in the anniversary celebrations with their own community celebrations.

In Israel Yom Ha'atzmaut is a national holiday. Government offices, banks, educational institutions, and most commercial establishments are closed for the day. In the synagogues Yom Ha'atzmaut is marked with the recital of the Hallel prayer (Palms of Praise), and around the country the Israeli government and local municipalities conduct official ceremonies. Yom Ha'atzmaut is concluded with the ceremony of granting the "Israel Prize" recognizing individual Israelis for their unique contributio…

My View of the Oregon Coast

Here are some of my favorite shots from our Journey to Tillamook...enjoy!

If you would like to view the album on Fotki, here's the link:

A Journey to Tillamook

A Journey from Tillamook...

photo by Lisa

Well, we are back home. As I type this, Padawan is heading home to her family and some unknowns.

We had a terrific day yesterday driving to Yachats and then boxing up the coast; I think we managed to get six or seven boxes total on this trip. That may not seem like much, but there was quite a bit of other activities going on, as well, since it was my parent's anniversary trip.

The weather was absolutely breathtaking - sunny and warm. We just sat on the rocks at Neptune Beach and soaked up the turquoise blue waves breaking into white foam and rushing onto the beautiful, brown sand then crashing beneath our black perches. Lisa looked for tide pools, but they were only must get too much wave action here for any critters hang out. I wish I could describe how beautiful it was...

We actually left Tillamook at 7:30-ish in the evening, heading north toward home. It was about then that we got a distressing phone call from Jacob, Lisa's son, who was home by …

A Journey to Tillamook - one more day

Today is the last day we get to spend on the beautiful Oregon Coast, then we are headed north. We are definitely not in any hurry to get back, to be sure! We have so much to do this next week, with the wedding of our friends Bill & Lisa, but for today, we are driving south...

letterboxing in Yachats


taking pictures

breathing in the ocean air

looking at a lighthouse or two

enjoying the journey along Hywy 101

eating someplace that we know is really good!

not having any obligation or schedule

more laughing

playing music rather loud

perhaps singing...

squeakin' the most fun out of this last day as possible!

A Journey to Tillamook - Cannon & Connie

Today we will be enjoying all that there is to enjoy in the wonderfully unique coastal town of Cannon Beach...woohoo! If you know me at all, you know full well that Cannon is a town that is one of my all-time favorites and that I absolutely love to visit all the ghosts that wait for me much history!

But, before we take in the lovely little boutiques, book stores, candy shops, gift & clothing stores, we are going to try to snag a couple of letterboxes. We will be accompanied by our friend, Connie, who is traveling with my parents on this vacation. Connie, who lost her husband a year or so ago, is pretty excited about hangin' out with a couple of Jedi for the day. I hope we don't wear her out! lol!

My parents will be spending today with my brother, Dan, who arrived last night with his two boys, Zekiah and Matthias. We had a good time with them last night, even doing a little lightsaber sparring with each of the boys - not too shabby! Zekiah has a red saber, however.…

A Journey to Tillamook - doin' the Cape

Today, it is sunny, gloriously sunny! Some hazy clouds, but dry and wonderful *smile*

It is my parent's anniversary today, so we will be spending the day with them exploring the Three Capes Loop, the Cape Meares Lighthouse and anything along the way that calls to us! Cameras are at the ready, to be sure. My brother and his two boys will be arriving later this afternoon, and we are planning on having a small celebration in my parent's room with champagne, munchies and memories.

I have to say that the hotel, the Best Western in Tillamook, is very, very nice. The beds are dreamy with memory foam mattress toppers, down comforters and luscious pillows (they said I could take one home with me!). The rooms are good sized and the breakfast is even good with lots of food my Dad is just loving (biscuits & gravy...bleh!). The computer runs a little slow, but that's OK... Oh, and there is a cute little coffee shop with great lattes for only $3 a piece - no tax! We love Ore…

A Journey to Tillamook - update

We made it safely in Tillamook, after a very long day in the vehicle...well, not just our vehicle, but in a tow truck, as well...

In short, we drove from Puyallup to Kelso, stopped at a McD's for a sweet tea and bathroom break, and the van (affectionately known as Artee) wasn't cooperating. It turned on fine, but would not go into reverse without dying. Managed to limp it into another parking spot away from the main doors of the restaurant, but could not get it further than that. :-(

Called AAA, met Scott, the sweet tow-truck driver, and we entertained him with Star Wars trivia all the way back to Puyallup...straight to the dealership!

Anyway, upon loading our stuff into the loaner, now named the Rattlecan, we made our way back south. After starting our journey at 9:00am, we arrived in Tillamook around 6-ish in the evening. No boxing on the way, either...oh well!

So, all's well that ends well - for today, anyway. We will find out more on Monday about Artee...::sigh::

Oh, …


We are traveling to the beautiful Oregon Coast for a few days of much needed rest, relaxation, family & friends and, hopefully, letterboxing and hiking.

Be back soon!

Never Forget

train car displayed at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel.

Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 21, 2009

The Holocaust was the systematic annihilation of six million Jews by the Nazi regime during World War 2. In 1933 approximately nine million Jews lived in the 21 countries of Europe that would be occupied by Germany during the war. By 1945 two out of every three European Jews had been killed. The European Jews were the primary victims of the Holocaust. But Jews were not the only group singled out for persecution by Hitler’s Nazi regime. As many as one-half million Gypsies, at least 250,000 mentally or physically disabled persons, and more than three million Soviet prisoners-of-war also fell victim to Nazi genocide. Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, Social Democrats, Communists, partisans, trade unionists, Polish intelligentsia and other undesirables were also victims of the hate and aggression carried out by the Nazis.

The train car above is so symbolic to me. When I thi…

I want this action figure!


Bridal Shower lovely!

On this lovely, sunny day I had the pleasure of attending the bridal shower tea of my friend Lisa. Her wedding is in a couple of weeks and the planning is hitting fever pitch! Anyway, showers are really not my favorite functions to attend (shhhhh! don't tell!), but some things you just have to do...y'know?

I was pleasantly surprised at the creativity and fresh perspective of this shower. You may of heard of this before, but I hadn't...and loved it! There were five table hosts for the shower; they each set and decorated their 6-person table for tea. They were each so unique and lovely! I just enjoyed soaking up each hosts personality in how they chose to decorate their table.

A couple of the hosts really enjoy all the details of giving a tea, as well as going to tea rooms. Paulette, one of the hosts, has everything you could possibly imagine to 'pour out' a most appropriate and proper tea. She graciously provided the lovely silver teapot warmers for each of t…

In the not-so-final analysis

I am dedicated student of human behavior. Watching people move in and out of relationship with others fascinates me...probably too much. Perhaps in my old age, I will take up a more scholarly pursuit of this interesting subject matter, eh?

I also have the unique opportunity and privilege to belong to very tight-knit community. I realize that most do not have such a community in which they spend a large amount of their time, and thus have difficulty understanding the dynamics of a close community. I suppose the closest thing would be a family; actually, I say our community is much like a family in that we bicker, jockey for position and love each other just like in a large family. We know each other on a personal level and that enables us to feel safe with behavior we wouldn't exhibit in other environments.

Just yesterday, I was involved in a mediating a power struggle of sorts (and what's worse is that it was concerning a high-stress event on a short timeline...of course. …

Photo-of-the-Day: Classic Puget Sound

Yesterday, we had the distinct pleasure of visiting friends in their rented cabin on Puget Sound. We enjoyed the quiet, sunny shoreline as we wandered down the beach looking for crabs, interesting rocks and pocket treasures. It was most certainly classic Puget Sound...

I loved how the rocks looked black from the kelp and white from the barnacles. Pictures never do reality justice, in my view...the contrast was striking.

I think this is my favorite shot of the day; reflections are always fascinating to me. I was amazed at the clarity of the water, too.

This was the view right in front of their cute little cabin; just shimmy down the rocks and you're instantly beach combing!

It just doesn't get anymore Pacific Northwest than this rather hazy shot of Puget Sound, sailboats, houses gathered on the hillside and the snow-capped Olympic Mountains standing guard...glorious!


It just so happens to be sunny today, so I thought I would give a nod to springtime in the PNW! This is a lovely flowering tree we saw in Poulsbo not too long ago.

Snapshot, W.I.T.

Well, we finally heard that my beautiful daughter Morgan, (known as Cowgirl in the letterboxing world, and Snapshot at camp), made the cut to be a part of the Wrangler-in-Training program at Miracle Ranch this summer! We have been waiting to hear whether she made it or not, and let me tell you, that was no easy feat!

A couple of weekends ago, she went to a weekend retreat which turned out to be a weekend long interview for the program. There were nineteen candidates, and only ten positions available. She did an excellent job, carrying herself just like a pro. I know, I'm a little biased, but she really did a great job! Last year she was in the Leadership-in-Training program and we were so hopeful that she could move up to the Wrangler program; I'm just so proud of her that she made it! In the L.I.T. program, the trainees work with the day-campers and pull kitchen duty. She had a terrific time last year, to be sure. But, this year she will be working with the horses an…

The Big Let-Down

I never seem to get used to the amazing stillness and emptiness that follows an incredibly busy time. After the chaos, double-time planning and execution of Passover, then the incredibly stimulating time at the sci-fi/fantasy convention, I am left with silence. Well, mostly...there still remains the war of sibling rivalry that is living at my house currently. *smirk*

It won't be still for long, however. Rob & the boys are heading out this weekend to enjoy some camping and fishing, and then the following weekend is more travel for everyone in the household. But, for now, it's the mundane tasks of school, chores, and laundry - the things that no one wants to do. Why is it during these times that I just can't seem to get myself motivated to do the things that would make my life more manageable during the hectic days? It must be my lack of self-discipline, I suppose.

Yoda had a great saying about self-mastery, but now, for the life of me, I can't remember it. I…

MISSION REPORT: Norwescon 2009

The theme for this year's Norwescon Sci-Fi & Fantasy Convention was The Things that Time Forgot. I always wonder how they come up with the so-called 'theme', as it looked the same this year as last! lol! There was definitely a huge showing of Steampunk this year, more than last year, so I guess that is a nod to the theme. (If you don't know about Steampunk, check out

I suppose I could talk about the many folks in every imaginable costume, or the plethora of panels (workshops) there were...or I could talk about the masquerade of costumes on stage, or the intense previews of upcoming sci-fi/fantasy movies coming soon. I might describe endlessly all the wonderful Star Wars fanatics I got to hang out with and the famous 501st Legion, but I think I'll just let the pictures tell the story.

If you haven't been to a 'con', you just don't know what you are mis…

'09 Seder a Success!

Well, another Passover seder successfully executed! Lisa took some good pics while I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get everything in place...thanks Lisa! You're awesome!

The food was a little over-cooked, the candle blessing needed a "do-over!" and we were short a couple of place settings, but all in all, it was a wonderful time for everyone. *smile*

Now, if I could get everything down into a "lessons learned" before I forget, it will be even better next year!

I did manage to snap a few of the 44 beautiful souls that shared the festival with us:

Shannon & Brooks, coming down from Canada to spend time with us!

I was so happy to have Raina & Ken with us this year.

The betrothed Bill & Lisa (their wedding is slated for May 3rd!)

Fairly new to our shul is Henry & Pam - we were thrilled to have them! And below is the lovely Miss Rita and Linda McDowell.

I am blessed and honored to have been able to host a seder again th…

Graveside, among other things...

reflections of a life well-lived...

So, in the middle of Passover cleaning, cooking and making sure that no one in our congregation 'falls through the cracks', our dear Marjorie has passed away quietly in her sleep. She led a full, believing life, and was ready to go...but it's still hard for those left behind, most markedly her unmarried daughter who lived with her Mother. The graveside service is today, and I am praising HaShem for the glorious, sunny spring weather and a life well-lived.

An interesting time this is, to be sure. So much on my mind, but yet so difficult to put anything down in writing. Passover week is the busiest week of the year for those of us that celebrate the festivals of Torah. Cleaning and getting everything just right for the Passover seder is a daunting task, even for the experienced. So many details, so many people to coordinate, so much to clean...and amazingly, so many lessons to learn. In removing the chametz from your home (aka 'bo…


Our shul shofar...all shined up after Passover cleaning *smile*


A few images from last year's Pesach seder are in order, I think. Last night, the 'other half of my brain' and I worked through most of the details over a glass of relaxation. I think we may have this down, but I don't want to get too cocky...

I didn't get many good pics last year, due to the busy-ness of it all, however I like this shot. You can see sweet Miss Rita sitting quietly, waiting for the festivities to start. She will be gracing our table again this year...we are blessed with her presence. *smile*

We do things a little differently at our seder. We hold it at the shul, due to the number of guests...there is no way I could accommodate 40+ folks at a sit-down dinner in my living room! Also, some of the friends who join us just cannot do stairs, and for that, the shul is a much better alternative.

Instead of providing all the china for the meal, I ask that everyone bring their favorite place settings. This is very fun, and makes for an eclectic table, t…